The association between weight at birth and breast cancer risk revisited using Mendelian randomisation

European Journal of Epidemiology
Siddhartha KarPaul D P Pharoah


Observational studies suggest that higher birth weight (BW) is associated with increased risk of breast cancer in adult life. We conducted a two-sample Mendelian randomisation (MR) study to assess whether this association is causal. Sixty independent single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) known to be associated at P < 5 × 10-8 with BW were used to construct (1) a 41-SNP instrumental variable (IV) for univariable MR after removing SNPs with pleiotropic associations with other breast cancer risk factors and (2) a 49-SNP IV for multivariable MR after filtering SNPs for data availability. BW predicted by the 41-SNP IV was not associated with overall breast cancer risk in inverse-variance weighted (IVW) univariable MR analysis of genetic association data from 122,977 breast cancer cases and 105,974 controls (odds ratio = 0.86 per 500 g higher BW; 95% confidence interval 0.73-1.01). Sensitivity analyses using four alternative methods and three alternative IVs, including an IV with 59 of the 60 BW-associated SNPs, yielded similar results. Multivariable MR adjusting for the effects of the 49-SNP IV on birth length, adult height, adult body mass index, age at menarche, and age at menopause using IVW and MR-Egger methods provided estimat...Continue Reading


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